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Away from the glare of global headlines, Nepal is grappling with a constitutional crisis that could once again propel the tourist mecca, sensitively situated between India and China, into full-fledged conflict.From 1996 to 2006, Nepal was wracked by a brutal civil war that pitted a Maoist insurgency against the long-ruling monarchy, whose powerful army initially enjoyed the support of the country's democratic political parties. Then came long-established forces like the Nepali Congress, a social-democratic party modeled on its Indian namesake, and the moderate Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), which, despite its name, is committed to electoral politics within a democratic system.The opposition has since boycotted all Constituent Assembly proceedings.The opposition parties have gained wide support for their position, with Nepal's largest media organizations, key civil society leaders, minority activists and women's groups all opposing the ruling coalition's effort to railroad a constitution through the Constituent Assembly. If, as is believed, China is sympathetic to the Maoists, it could ultimately be dragged, in some capacity, into a war in Nepal.
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